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Use of UAVs by DR Congo Peacekeepers Possible - UN

RIA Novosti

04:56 10/01/2013

NEW YORK, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - The UN considers the use of surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by its peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the office of the UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said late on Wednesday.

Nesirky said UAVs are being considered as a means to strengthen the capabilities of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and to protect civilians in a vast area of the country's east.

"Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unarmed, are one tool we are considering in order to protect civilians better and to monitor the movements of armed groups," Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General quoted Nesirky as saying.

He added that one or two surveillance drones will be enough for the purpose.

The UN mission in DR Congo currently has 17,500 troops, with a possibility of expanding it to almost 20,000. A Security Council resolution is authorizes the peacekeepers to use "all necessary means to carry out its protection mandate."

Since 2004, the country was the zone of an armed conflict between the DRC authorities and anti-government armed groups, allegedly supported by neighboring Rwanda.

Rwanda strongly denied any involvement into the conflict, including support for M23 armed group, which seized the strategic eastern city of Goma last November.

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